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War on Poverty’s Checkered Legacy: Column

posted on January 8, 2014

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the state of the union address where Lyndon Johnson declared his “war on poverty.” In USA Today, Mark I. Pinsky recalls the legislation’s role in Appalachia and how religious activists fighting poverty in the region prefigured the “secular missionaries” of the New Deal and Johnson’s war on poverty. “For more than two centuries, these Southern mountains have been a magnet for missionaries, both religious and secular, all determined to wipe out poverty, hunger and ignorance — whether the region’s benighted folk wanted them to or not,” Pinsky writes. “Their too-common failing, local people say, is that the erstwhile do-gooders have not respected the strong beliefs and culture that already existed.”

Read at USA Today